It can be hard to describe your poop, so doctors use a scale to show the different kinds. It’s called the Bristol stool chart, and it gives you an idea of how long a stool spent in your bowel before heading out.
They’ve spent a long time in your bowel and are tough to pass. If your stool looks like this, you’re probably constipated. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks, see your doctor to find out what’s causing it.
This stool also can be a sign that you’re constipated. Try to get more fiber in your diet and drink more water to move things along.
Doctors think of this kind of poop as normal, because it’s soft and easy to pass. If things are going as they should, it shouldn’t take longer than a minute on the toilet to push out a poop.
Doctors think of this as poop you want to have. Everyone’s bathroom habits are different, but ideally you should have one of these every 1 to 3 days.
These are easy to pass, but you may feel a sense of urgency about getting to the bathroom. That can be a sign of mild diarrhea. Most of the time, it goes away on its own in a couple of days.
If you have these more than three times a day, you have diarrhea. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Water is good, but you also need to replace the minerals you’re losing (called electrolytes). Fruit juices and soup can help.
This stool moved through your bowel very quickly. See your doctor if you have more than three of these a day for longer than 2 days. You should check with your doctor if you also have other signs of dehydration (dry mouth, sleepiness, headache, or dizziness), severe pain in your tummy or rear end, or a fever of 102 degrees or higher.
The Bristol stool chart doesn’t include color, but you might have questions about that, too. Shades of brown, ranging from tan to deep, are typical — but other colors don’t mean there’s a problem. Your poop can look green or red if you’ve eaten anything with food coloring, lots of leafy green vegetables, beets, cranberries, or red gelatin. But if it’s black or bright red, see your doctor. It could be a sign of internal bleeding.